Miranda Field

At Ravenscroft

Above, it’s still rasining, pins falling,
microscopic bells tolling among needles.
The hill juts out a little from the cemetery,
sheltered by cedars of Lebanon—
neutral ground, not for the dead but for their visitors.
If you opened the hill, you’d find no evidence inside of death,
only, hovering above the opening,
a folly, a bench of ivied, blackened iron,
a drinking fountain kept operative for the living.
We’ve climbed the hill together, we’re tired and thirsty
but don’t want to drink from the fountain.
We shake out and let down our umbrellas in ragged unison—
so little ain filters through the canopy—
but the air’s sodden and drops of water bead our faces.
Aspects of all of us glisten in them,
Too negligible for the unassisted eye.
You might think we’d stopped to count ourselves,
or for a photograph, we stand so well composed,
growing smaller and smaller.
We stand near the fountain where “Tranquility”
in gothic script on a green-rimed copper plate fairly shines.
Behind the fountain, the vista has no borders.
Intact and broken stones, pell-mell, melt affectionately
off into a vanishing point just below horizon.
One sister bends over “Tranquility,” while the next waits her turn.
Each puts her mouth to it, it seems, a long, long time.

Miranda Field
“At Ravenscroft” is from Swallow (Mariner Books, 2002).